Wondering if insulin resistance can kill a person?

Can you actually die, directly, from insulin resistance?

This is a fair question, because insulin resistance is a precursor to type 2 diabetes, and type 2 diabetes is a leading killer of people in the U.S.

Insulin resistance raises the risk of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease and other potentially lethal conditions.

Nevertheless, can insulin resistance, of which 60 million Americans have (many not even knowing it), outright kill a person?

“Nobody will ever die as a direct result of having insulin resistance,” says Dr. David Edelson, MD, board certified in internal and bariatric medicine, one of the top obesity experts in the U.S., and founder and medical director for thin-site.com and HealthBridge.

“However, think of it like a stick of dynamite with a very long fuse,” he continues. “Treat it properly with good lifestyle habits and the fuse will never be lit. Adopt poor lifestyles like a diet high in starches, sugars and bad fats, lack of exercise and poor sleep patterns, and you light the fuse.”

Let’s talk about good lifestyle habits. Often, people think they have healthy lifestyle habits, when in fact, they don’t.

I’m a former certified personal trainer and have known many people who believe they get adequate exercise, when in actuality, just the opposite is true.

Vacuuming and hoisting out the garbage on Sunday evening shouldn’t count as your exercise for Sunday, especially since these tasks involve non-neutral spinal alignment — a bad thing.

You still owe yourself at least 20 minutes of vigorous exercise — in a systematic, methodical way, such as a combination of jumping rope, stair stepping (even one step will suffice if all you have is one step in the house), lunges, squats and jogging in place with high knees.

Bad fats are found in commercially-prepared pastries as well as many snack or munchies-type foods. Read the ingredients lists, even if the box says “no trans fats.”

If you spot the word “hydrogenated” in the ingredients list, don’t buy the item; this is a bad fat.

And limit sugar (and high fructose corn syrup) consumption. Sugar is so ubiquitous that it’s found even in tomato soup.

Dr. Edelson continues, “Along this fuse, you pass certain critical points: One is the metabolic syndrome, another obesity, as well as high blood pressure, and finally type II diabetes.

Each of these points makes the fuse burn faster toward the eventual explosion of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, etc.”

So the answer to “Can you die from insulin resistance” is actually no, in terms of a direct way, such as dying from a gunshot wound.

But in an indirect way, you definitely can, indeed, die from insulin resistance — though it may take years for that spark along the fuse to travel from the point of insulin resistance to the point of death from stroke (from uncontrolled type 2 diabetes).

Insulin resistance is a warning that you are on the path to type 2 diabetes, a top 10 killer of U.S. people.

Dr. Edelson is widely recognized as one of the nation’s top weight loss experts, and was listed in NY Magazine’s “Best Doctors of 2014” issue.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  

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Top image: Shutterstock/sukiyaki